Presidency: Ramaphosa did not dodge Al-Bashir question

2015-06-18 14:24
Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)

Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg – The presidency on Thursday denied that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa evaded questions on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s flight from South Africa.

National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise ruled on Wednesday that the matter was still before the courts and an investigation into the circumstances of his departure from South Africa was under way, presidency spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.

Ramaphosa was thus not expected to answer the question during his question-and-answer session in the NCOP.

“Accordingly, suggestions in some media that the Deputy President had ‘evaded’ or ‘dodged’ answering questions on President Al Bashir are baseless, malicious, misleading,” Mamoepa said.

Democratic Alliance NCOP member Jacques Julius, however, said Modise deliberately abused the sub judice rule.

According to the rule, one may not publish information about a case before a court that may prejudice the administration of justice.

Ramaphosa was asked: “If the South African government is committed to upholding democratic institutions, including respecting resolutions adopted by Parliament such as the Rome Statute, why did the government allow President Al Bashir to leave South Africa when there is an international warrant for his arrest for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; and what steps will the Honourable Deputy President, as special envoy to South Sudan, take to ensure that those in contempt of the South African High Court order will be held accountable?”

The High Court in Pretoria on Monday ordered the minister in the presidency and minister of state security to submit an affidavit explaining when and through which port of entry Al-Bashir was allowed to leave. The ministers were given a week to do so.

The court on Sunday ruled that the government had to prevent Al-Bashir from leaving the country until it had dealt with an application to have him arrested.

Minutes before its order to the two ministers on Monday, the court had ruled that the government had to take steps to arrest Al-Bashir. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stand trial on charges of war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur. 

South Africa is a signatory to the ICC’s Rome Statute.

“The deputy president squandered an opportunity to start the process of restoring faith in the South Africa’s judicial system and to recommit the country to protecting international human rights and our respect for law,” Julius said.

Read more on:    icc  |  omar al-bashir  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  ncop  |  politics

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